We hope you are enjoying this series as much as we are! This month, Cristal and I have learned we are not only passionate about advocating for those who may feel alone on their journey towards healing from sexual assault; but other voices as well. As much as we focus on the importance of survivor's strengthening their voices, it is also incredibly important for us to include the other voices critical to a survivor's walk, that of their allies. Cristal and I are blessed enough to have supportive individuals in our walk; including the men closest to us. Last week we heard from Cristal's husband, James, on his response to Charlemagne's interview (see previous two posts) and this week I will be sharing the interview conducted with me and my boyfriend/best friend, Michael. :) We hope you enjoy their insight as much as we have!
Devin's Thoughts Pre-Interview:
My initial response to the podcast was obvious sentiments of disgust, anger, and disappointment. I was deeply saddened by the light-hearted tone and joking manner when Charlemagne shared his accounts of a sexual interaction with a woman from his past. But like Derrick Jaxn, who commented on the ordeal, it begs the question why conversations like these continue to happen in our culture without regard to accountability? Where is the accountability in upholding men for actions and behavior that compromise another person’s well being, in this case, the well-being of women?
To discuss our thoughts on similar topics related to the Charlemagne podcast is my partner and supportive boyfriend Mike; someone I am grateful is always open to listening and speaking from the male gaze on sensitive issues like rape culture.
Devin: What is your immediate reaction to the Charlemagne interview?
Mike: I never really had a lot of respect for him and what he represented. which might leave a lot of my responses biased.
Devin: Do tell...
Mike: He has built his personality and job on promoting a culture that exploits the very thing he was talking about during the interview. His privilege allows him to say whatever he wants to whomever he wants--and he's made a decent living off that. But his credibility was never in good standing with me.
Devin: Why do you think there hasn't been much media attention calling him out as @DerrickJaxn has on youtube?
Mike: His audience and the people listening to him regularly, expect him to say what he said and how he said it. So there won't be a lot of accountability for the foolery he was displaying for that reason. He’s a clown for that. unfortunately, his clownish antics will probably gain him added publicity.
Devin: Why do you think accountability is difficult in hyper-masculine spaces?
Mike:It comes down to respect. If "Tom" doesn't like "Larry" or respect him, and "Larry" calls him out for saying something demeaning towards another woman, Tom isn't going to hear it. Tom might just be saying whatever he is saying to show off his manhood. Respect=Masculinity/ Manhood even if it means at the expense of disrespecting someone else.
Devin: Why is it difficult to call out other men if women are objectified or are being harassed in public?
Mike: Some dudes don't want to get involved because a guy who is willing to be disrespectful to a woman is also the same dude who thinks he has something to prove. Unfortunately, some men don't speak up because there is sometimes a fear behind another man checking another man in public for his poor behavior. It often leads to physical confrontation. If you are willing to say something, be willing to defend yourself if it gets that far.
Devin: Why is violence the immediate jerk-response for guys who act like this?
Mike: The type of masculinity we're talking about...you know the one that is blatantly disrespectful and dudes just being 'mouthy' is soft. That type of guy now has something to prove to society and anyone who questions his remarks. He'll be like, "Oh you're questioning who I am," and he'll most definitely have something to say about it.
Devin: How do you feel hearing about or being around 'men' like that.
Mike: I don't voluntarily put myself in situations like that like these are not the men I kick it with. But dudes like that are just and try to get some laughs and attention. If it's not about cars or money, they'll belittle women-- they're gross. period.
Devin: Is it possible to see more forms of accountability for men's actions in the future? If so, what would that look like?
Mike: I think it is possible. But men need more examples...better examples and healthier examples of masculinity. The reason a lot of dudes act out, and get away with it like Charlemagne is that of their privilege, society EXPECTS that out of them!
Devin: like that whole "boys will be boys" sentiment.
Mike: Yea--boys will be boys because we LET THEM. If we had better role models, mentors, and fathers, there would be less of this garbage going around and being popularized.
Devin: Gracias, mi amor! <3
After the interview, we continued talking over dinner, because my mental wheels were obviously turning!More often than not, the only image of masculinity displayed in our society is compartmentalized in the most rigid categories; of being "tough", "aggressive" or powerful. Not showcasing other forms of masculinity, like the kind expressed by @DerrickJxn, limits the options of choosing better for men who listen and observe this type of content. There is so much more to be discussed and called into question. But one thing is for certain, our ideas of what being a man means in today's society is needing some serious male-grooming (see what I did there) and we at Herstory, are determined to present more examples of this in future posts to come!
Thank you for reading, supporting and healing with us!
With Love and Solidarity,
Devin Marie and Cristal Lowe
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